When I was little, I was a little obsessive with keeping track of everything I did on vacation. In fact, the trip Kelvin and I took to Boston last year was the first time I didn’t write in a journal. Now that I am trying to recount our vacation, I am seeing how valuable those journals were (and we only got back from our trip last week)!
After a few days of hanging out closer to the Gaylord Opryland (and a visit to Opry Mills essentially right next door), we headed back downtown for one more day. One thing we really enjoyed about taking the bus downtown was knowing that when it pulled up, Billy would be in the driver seat. Even though we only took that bus 3 times, we felt this strange connection to Billy (maybe it had something to do with the 45 minute bus breakdown on day 1). On the day we went to the supermarket, he told us he’d be looking out for us on the return trip! The bus also had regulars, like the lady who was always there on our 9:45 pick up, chatting it up with Billy, a towel slung over her left shoulder.
Our first stop was Cumberland Park (accessible via the Shelby Street pedestrian bridge). Nashville is seriously upping its waterfront game, and if Andy was just a little bit older, he would have LOVED this place.
Seriously, it was like all of Nashville’s children knew to come here. There was this busy splash pad area, beside which was an astroturf wonderland called The Hollows. For children who preferred not to get wet, there was a bouldering wall and little play area. There were definitely some preteens and teenagers there enjoying the park alongside these little rascals. And let’s be honest, I totally wanted to play too. Now there is the mark of a well-designed park. Fun for all ages!
Afterwards, we headed back across the river to have lunch at Pinewood Social. If I were to ever start a business, I would want it to be like this place. Part hangout, part bar, part restaurant, part bowling alley, this place was the best.
I had a grilled cheese that was out of this world, and Andy had some respite from the beating sun.
Because of some roadwork, our bus ride to the Ryman took quite a while (just you wait, we really hit a homerun today with the Nashville tourist spots!). A friend had suggested that we check the Ryman out, so we did, and it was such a fascinating thing to be able to hear about its glory days, neglect, and revival. I had read online about the 11-minute “show” that played before the self-guided tour, and it did not disappoint! We didn’t stay too long here, though, as we wanted to get a rest in at the park.
So we were headed to the West End on the bus (3 or 5 will get you to Centennial Park, where as the 7 will take you down 21st Ave south of Vanderbilt campus) when we passed by the Frist Centre. Yet another spot on our must-see list! We had originally intended to come down again the next day, but then I thought “Oh, why not just see it today” (I’m very glad we did, as we ended up staying at the hotel the next day). We hopped off the bus, walked the long block back to the centre, and got our tickets. Now, we had opted not to bring the stroller with us, so Andy had been chilling (really, cooking) in the carrier the entire trip. but this place provided strollers for free. WHAT. It was the best thing ever. We explored Italian Fashion and postcards and contemporary art. They also have this awesome section called ArtQuest where you get to make your own art. There were a ton of kiddos in there, though, so I opted not to create art this time around.
I really did not want to leave the Frist, due in large part to this stroller, but alas, it was time to go. We caught the bus again and headed to Centennial Park. This was the site of the 1897 Expo, and home to the world’s only full-size replica of the Parthenon. Random, yes, but still quite an amazing sight. Andy and I took a little stroll around the park, then settled down for a nice rest. Two things that were nice around the park: (1) These oversized swings dotted the park for people to sit on; and (2) Plaques along the trail explained the history of the park. I’m all about merging recreation and learning :)We hung out at the park for a good 2 hours probably. Then we walked through Vanderbilt campus and ended up in a line for Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. This too came recommended by a friend, and Kelvin said it was some of the best (if not the best) fried chicken he had ever had. It was thoroughly enjoyable. Just so you know – counter service, expect a line.
The next day was our last full day in Nashville, topped off with Kelvin’s work gala dinner. Then an early morning flight to our next destination (for Kelvin’s true vacation): New York City!